Most Anticipated Music of 2018

“It’s Socialise With An S” 

I guess people in Australia spell "socialize" differently than people do in the United States. I didn't know that. But Major did. At one point while we were exchanging emails for this thing, Major referenced the upcoming Camp Cope album, How to Socialise and Make Friends. When I saw that he misspelled "socialize," I was so happy. I even thought to myself, "Wow, what an idiot. He doesn't even know how to spell."

But before I highlighted that squiggly-red-lined word, I hesitated. 

Because Major never misspells stuff. He was born knowing how many L's and A's are in Maggie Gyllenhaal's name. Not only does he know that Peter Sarsgaard and Alexander Skarsgard are different people, he intuitively knows how to spell each of their last names, backwards.

So I Googled it and yep, he was right. It's the British spelling apparently. Like color v. colour, which even thinking about only makes me miss the band Colour Revolt that much more.

Anyways, the following is the aforementioned email stream between Major and I as we discussed the albums we're looking forward to in 2018. I probably made more mistakes than him.

Dane Wrote on January 21st at 12:29pm:

Hey Major, 

2018 already started off well for music with Jeff Rosenstock dropping a surprise album on New Years Day. 

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I know it's super early, but I feel like POST- will likely end up in my Top Five for the whole year. Rosenstock's previous album, Worry, was your favorite album of 2016, how're you feeling about POST-? Any favorite tracks yet?

Major replied on January 21st at 10:58pm:

Hey Daaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnne, 

I feel the same way. If POST- is not in my favorite records of 2018 that means we had the best music year on record. ON RECORD. It is incredibly catchy while also providing so much lyrical depth. It really captures a lot of the feelings the year 2017 brought out in those of us that are afraid of what this period/person is doing to us and our future. After the fun and aggressively different styles of WORRY, Rosenstock has crafted an angsty, sing-a-long and equally fun record of being overwhelmed and coping with that. 

It's ten tracks and the first is a seven second good morning message from who I believe to be Laura Stevenson, a great artist as well (Future Dane put link to Laura Stevenson's bandcamp here), and the last song is an eleven minute track that uses five of those minutes as a ringing outro to the record. So everything from that sweet Mornin'! opener through the majority of “Let Them Win” is a must listen.

 If I had to pick my favorite song right now it would be “Yr Throat.” That song takes what the previous track “USA” started and really drives home the helplessness you feel before you just close Twitter or shut your laptop. How when it really matters you just ramble and wish someone would do something. While simultaneously feeling guilty you aren't being one of those someone's doing something. 

What feelings do you have listening to POST-?

And what is your favorite song to yell/sing in the car?

Dane wrote back on January 22nd at 11:10am:

It definitely captures this moment well. I find it so cathartic to sing along with lines like "What's the point of having a voice/when it gets stuck inside your throat!" or the quiet build up of "we're tired and bored/we're tired and bored/WE'RE TIRED AND BORED!"

Though there are so real lyrical gems here that are a bit more dense too. 

I particularly like the last verse of USA that goes:

"Man in a crossover with his family
Sketched in decals on the window smiling
Driving parallel in the lane beside me
Oh, it doesn’t matter now
But please be honest
Tell me was it you?
I won’t hate you
I just need to know
Please be honest
Tell me was it you?"

That really captures the paranoia of today, that feeling of knowing that your co-workers, neighbors, and relatives likely voted for this man that represents the absolute worst parts of humanity. Of course, knowing who voted for him won't change anything now, but it would at least provide some relief.  

Which is what POST- does for me, it's an album full of songs helping me feel like I'm not crazy and I'm not alone. 

POST- is the album to fully win me over for Rosenstock, the one to inspire a revisit to his back catalog, the album to push him into that echelon of favorite artists where I follow him on at least one social media site. So that's obviously a career milestone for any artist, but it's nice to see the buzz he's getting right now too. 

I loved Rob Harvilla's piece on the Ringer and Steven Hyden's interview with Rosenstock on Uproxx.  

Another band that has gotten (and will continue to get) a lot of love this year is Camp Cope

They're right near the top of my most anticipated albums for 2018, but I'd be willing to bet they're you're number one most anticipated release. Is that accurate?

Major wrote on January 22nd at 1:11pm:

Absolutely. 

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I was searching for new music in the summer of 2016 and found their 8 track self titled record and was blown away. It hit me in all the right places and it was a real emotional experience. It became one of my favorite records of 2016. Last year they put out a split with Cayetana that had two of my favorite songs of 2017. I love Georgia Maq's vocals and lyrics. She sings with such passion. She seems to have already gotten to a place artists take years to get to lyrically. She writes lines that connect without meandering. The bassist Kelly Hellmrich, aka Kelso, is fantastic, and gets to shine like few bassists get to do. Sarah Thompson, the drummer, really fleshes out the songs in such a unique way. I love these three. 

We've both listened to their first track off the new release, How to Socialise & Make Friends on March 2nd, called “The Opener.” A clever name with multiple meanings behind that title, and the way she is calling out the sexism in the music industry with such vigor makes me so excited to see what they do this coming year. I expect more greatness from them and their name to KEEP GROWING *winks at camera*. I'm so glad March 2nd is so soon. I'm ready to dive into that record. 

What would be your most anticipated record this year? 

Dane replied on January 23rd at 10:13am:

Now that I think about it, of confirmed releases, How to Socialise & Make Friends would have to be number one too. **Cue the Georgia Maq eye-roll at the 1:44 min mark of this awesome video from the Sydney Opera House**

Another album with a confirmed release date that I'm looking forward to (and I think this will surprise you) is the Black Panther soundtrack that comes out on February 9th. (You know earlier I said that I thought that would surprise you because really who gets excited about soundtracks anymore?)

The full tracklist hasn't even been released yet. Only two songs are known ("All the Stars" by SZA featuring Kendrick Lamar and "King's Dead" by Jay Rock, Future, James Blake, and Kendrick Lamar). There was also a snippet of a Vince Staples song (also featuring Kendrick Lamar) released with one of the trailers. Of course, Kendrick is producing the soundtrack, so that combined with what we've heard so far causes hope that we'll get a full tracklist of Kendrick Lamar collaborations.[1] 

Since it's doubtful that we'll get a new K. Dot album this year, I will gladly get my hopes for the next best thing, 14 Kendrick guest verses.

Major responded on January 23rd at 11:49pm:

Yeah that is a very 90's thing to be excited for a soundtrack like that. Didn't you have the Godzilla (1998, Matthew Broderick) soundtrack 20 years ago?  

I love all those artists and I have no doubt it will be better than any other soundtrack this year. Not counting the beautiful melodic tones of the Annihilation trailer. You're right we probably won't get new Kendrick because of that, but we have gotten new music from him in some capacity for the last 4 years thanks to Black Panther. 

I know it's not confirmed but knowing all the Kanye rumblings are going on nearly every week gets me so excited. He supposedly went Bon Iver out in the mountains of Wyoming, had another kid, produced a lot of other artists, and just had that great picture of him smiling as the paparazzi asked about his new child Chicago.

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He definitely was dealing with some issues in 2016 and 2017. I am so ready for a Kanye return to form. Nothing gets me more hype than a new Kanye record. 

Dane wrote on January 24th at 10:22am:

Oh, you mean this Godzilla soundtrack? 

You’re damn right I had it. (Not really I just had the CD single, but we'll count it.)

Yes! The as yet untitled-unannounced Kanye album would undoubtedly be the thing I would be most excited for this year. It's still a bummer that TLOP didn't get the respect it deserved. The rumblings that Mr. West has been working on tracks almost nonstop since then seems to prove the assumption that he wasn't happy with how that album was received either.

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Hey, where are you going with that laptop, Kanye?! 

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WHAT'S ON THAT LAPTOP??? 

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All three of this pictures have came within the last week. What secrets are on that laptop? I don't know. Unlike Ye's cousin, I don't plan on stealing it to find out. Hopefully, all will be revealed soon.

What are some other unconfirmed releases you're excited for in 2018? 

Major replied on January 24th at 12:03pm:

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My constant number one David Bazan joining back with Pedro The Lion. Bazan getting back with a band and writing new music that is meant to be performed by a full band just warms my cold and sour heart. Chance the Rapper has been working on his follow up to Coloring Book and I couldn't be more ready based on what he performed on Colbert this past year. 

There are plenty of bands that I think will release something but are unconfirmed. Joyce Manor, Kevin Devine, Pinegrove, The Hotelier, All Get Out, mewithoutyou, and maybe the band I love most that is also equally underrated by me Death Cab For Cutie. 

Dane wrote on January 26th at 2:39pm: 

Getting to see Pedro the Lion in a few weeks will likely be my highlight of early 2018. I've only ever seen Bazan perform acoustic so it will be awesome to see him with a live band. I'm crossing my fingers for just nonstop punk-jumps. Selfishly, I would like to see them keep a lot of those Bazan solo songs in their set list since I prefer those albums to the PTL catalog. BUT going forward, I think he'll combine the best of both worlds and release a batch of songs that will hopefully reach a larger audience.

(Potential) Hot Take: I think in two years, Pedro the Lion will be one of those smaller font bands on summer festival lineups. The only reason why this shouldn't happen is if it's something Bazan doesn't want.

Man, you hit it right for potential releases this year. Death Cab for Cutie's 2015 album, Kintsugi, was my favorite of theirs since 2005's Plans. Unfortunately though, it was also their last album to feature their former guitarist, producer, overall multi-instrumentalist dude, Christopher Walla. So I'm really interested to hear what they come up with next.  

Which speaking of Christopher Walla, he's been working in the studio with Foxing for their followup to my 2016 AOTY, Dealer. Foxing has also experienced a lineup change as bassist, and founding member, Josh Coll announced this summer he was leaving the band to focus on a career in filmmaking. Foxing are the kind of band where I honestly don't know what their next album will sound like. They could experience success in any number of directions. All I know is that whatever they make, I'll be there for. 

What are the chances you think we get Bad Books III this year?

Major replied on January 27th at 1:12am:

I don't know! That's a good question, I know Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine love doing that project. After a long process to bring A Black Mile to the Surface out to the world, and it being well received, I imagine it would be nice to do the studio recording version of having fun with friends. Everyone involved always talks so lovingly about recording those albums. Bad Books II is one of my favorite albums. I am as hopeful as you are. 

I hadn't got to mention them yet, but Superchunk has a record out called What a Time to be Alive on February 16th. I really like that band and the founding member Mac McCaughan. Portastatic is another band of his I really enjoy. Just wanted to throw that in there. 

Vampire Weekend also made an announcement last September that the new album was 80% done. It's their first without founding member Rostam Batmanglij. Their last record Modern Vampires of the City was my favorite of theirs and I'm pumped to see what Ezra Koenig does now.

One more quick shoutout of albums to look for

Hop Along

Lucy Dacus

Courtney Barnett

Is there anyone you haven't seen any rumors about but think should have one this year? Maybe an artist we haven't heard from in awhile? 

Dane wrote on February 3rd at 9:40am: 

Yes!  Hop Along was one I was saving up my sleeve. I really dig their first single "How Simple" from Bark Your Head Off, Dog due out April 6th. 

 Then for artists we haven't heard from in a while...how about the...uh...Wonder Years?

For me, the Wonder Years suffer from that affliction where each new album only serves to make me better appreciate the album that preceded it. I thought their last album (No Closer to Heaven) was straight up bad. So my hopes aren't high for Sister Cities (however, it does share its name with a Hop Along song, so maybe that's good?)

Even still, with all that said, I absolutely watched the full four-minute trailer for Sister Cities. It's due out in April too.

I’ll get it, I’m sure. It’s just my days of preordering their stuff are over.

What do you think?

Then— We're both going to see Pedro the Lion this Thursday, are there any other concerts/tours you're excited to check out this year?

Major replied on February 3rd at 1:09pm:

The "uh" carries a lot of weight there. I love Suburbia, and I think that was their peak. So each album since that I can agree with your thought on them only proving their previous was more my thing. I feel like there's this self-seriousness that goes a little too far with their music as they age. That video upped that to another degree. Although, I assume most of their fans are still super into them. I'm sure they are gaining new high school aged fans with every release. So maybe that video is exactly what gets their fans STOKED ON IT. I always have a fondness in my heart for The Wonder Years and I hope this record is great. I appreciate what they do and what their singer has to say most of the time. But their music feels like it is for someone else now. 

I would love to see Jeff Rosenstock, Kendrick Lamar, The National, Camp Cope, Death Cab (if they tour after the release), a Kevin Devine solo show, a Kanye return tour after his struggles. I honestly haven't looked far into it. You are much more of a concert guy than I am and always find them before I do. Everything after Pedro The Lion will be just a bonus for me. I'm so happy about that. Tell me your thoughts on concerts this year! 

I want to say that your band Sleeping Tapes second record should be out sometime this year and I'm excited to hear what you guys have made. I know you don't want that to look too self promotional and trust me it is not. The last thing you would want is me end this on that note. So I'm going against your wishes and plugging your good band. 

Finally, I want to ask you one more thing. What do you hope our current time in history brings out in music? There's more mindfulness to be had, and I think you are someone I always see reflecting on yourself in songs. Is there anything you want from music in 2018, or is it something you won't know you needed until it happens? 

Dane replied on February 5th at 11:06am:

I only saw a few shows last years so I'm hoping to change that in 2018. I'd like to see all of the artists you mentioned (plus Phoebe Bridgers). In reality, I will probably only end up attending (at best) 1/3 of those tours. Even that would be okay though.

That's a good question. I'm always on the look out for that new voice or new artist that brings something different to the table that I connect with. A fresh perspective that challenges or provides me with a better understanding of things I've already felt before. Which, yeah, I know that's kinda of a big ask of anyone, but it happens at least once a year.  

In 2016 that was Camp Cope (props to you on the assist there). In 2017 it was Phoebe Bridgers. It's tough to say who that will be in 2018, as most the time those kind of artist come out of nowhere and aren't even on my radar. Like you said, it's something that I won't know of until it happens. I'm so excited to be caught off guard with that discovery. I can't wait to be inspired and to fall in love with a new voice that makes me see the world a little bit differently, for better or worse.

Thanks for exchanging these emails with me, Major. I'll see you Thursday.

Major McKeithen studies acting and improv at The Second City and iO in Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter.

 

 

 

[1] The full tracklist has since been released and Kendrick isn’t on every track so I was wrong. However, he’s still on enough songs to make me happy so it’s okay.